I touch on this in this video, but besides causing some scholarship issues, the possible return of Trevor Mbakwe could create a lot of lineup questions as well.
There are a couple of different possible scenarios:
1. Insert Mbakwe back at power forward. That would, of course, mean moving Rodney Williams back to the 3-spot and starting either Elliott Eliason or Mo Walker at center.
Potential good: Mbakwe should thrive at his natural position, and it would provide an opportunity for the other big men in the wings to compete for a starting role.
Potential concerns: Williams struggled significantly at small forward earlier this season and he seemed unable to fully take advantage of his skills in that role. Opting for a big lineup like this could clog the middle and be counter-productive to the efficient, guard-oriented, up-tempo offense the Gophers have established in current weeks.
2. Put Mbakwe at center. Williams stays at 4; Eliason and Walker would come off the bench.
Potential good: This setup would likely uproot players the least. It doesn’t seem like playing at the 5-spot would change much about Mbakwe’s game. The Gophers would still be able to run and field a very athletic lineup that featured an aggressive big man in the middle.
Potential concerns: If Williams and Mbakwe don’t play well together in the post, it could be a problem. The sudden lack of roles and minutes for Eliason and Walker could also possibly cause unrest with those players.
Still, these are problems the Gophers would like to have if it means another year with Mbakwe.
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The freshman has missed five games with a dislocated finger.